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In late September, Moscow municipal official Sergei Martyanov sent a series of text messages to his subordinates: “Colleagues!!!… What is this sabotage???”

Martyanov was expressing dismay at his staff’s apparent reluctance to volunteer for the human trials of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, named after the Soviet-era satellite that triggered the space race. The official in the Moscow department of city property said many quota spots for his staff to join the trial remained unfilled.

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